DescriptionFounded as an abolitionist settlement in 1854 by the New England Emigrant Aid Society, Lawrence was at the center of the controversy concerning slavery that embroiled the state prior to the Civil War. Although the anti-slavery faction won, the other side ultimately had the last word. In 1863 Confederate guerrilla William Quantrill and 400 bushwhackers swept into Lawrence and attacked the ill-prepared home guard, leaving more than 200 dead and causing $1.5 million worth of damage, thus fueling animosities and retaliations between Kansans and Missourians.
Modern day Lawrence is a vibrant smaller city with many big-city amenities. Education, transportation, agriculture and light industry provide the basis for a diverse economy. The University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University, the country's only intertribal Native American college, are focal points for education, arts and culture. Lectures, plays, films, performing arts and concerts are presented year-round at The Lied Center of Kansas; phone the box office at (785) 864-2787. The Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St., hosts visual art, theater and dance events; phone (785) 843-2787.
For recreational pursuits, the city has some 50 parks that offer opportunities for swimming, skateboarding, hiking, tennis, golf, camping and picnicking. Additional information and a map indicating bicycle routes and parks can be obtained at the Parks and Recreation Department, 1141 Massachusetts St., and at the Lawrence Visitor Information Center, 402 N. Second St.; phone (785) 856-3040. Clinton Lake State Park is 4 miles west of town.
Downtown Lawrence has a number of historic buildings. The Old West Lawrence Historic District, bounded by Sixth, Eighth, Tennessee and Indiana streets, contains more than 40 Victorian- and Italianate-style residences. The 1912 Liberty Hall, 642 Massachusetts St., was the first motion picture theater west of the Mississippi River.
Visitor InfoLawrence Visitor Information Center 402 N. 2nd St. LAWRENCE, KS 66044. Phone:(785)856-3040
Self-guiding toursMaps for touring the city, its historic district and the University of Kansas campus are available from the visitor center at 402 N. 2nd St.
ShoppingThe downtown district, running along Massachusetts Street between Sixth and 11th streets, has an eclectic mixture of locally owned shops, cafes and restaurants as well as large national chain stores.
Things to SeeFreedom's Frontier National Heritage Area